dr.ing. R.E. Wendrich (Robert)

Assistant Professor

About Me

Robert E. Wendrich was born in Meppel, Drenthe on the 9th of June, 1955. He studied at the Academy of Industrial Design Eindhoven (AIVE) where he obtained his M.Sc. in 1983 and at University of Twente (UT) where he obtained his PhD in 2016. Currently he is Assistant Professor (appointed 2003) at the Faculty of Engineering Technology (ET) in the department of Design, Production and Management (DPM) at the University of Twente.

Robert Wendrich is founder and principal researcher in the research based spin-off (RBSO) Rawshaping Technology (RST).  Professor Wendrich is a member of American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME); the Design Society (DS); the Euro VR VETE SIG; Emotional Engineering SIG (EE). He holds various awards: e.g. Philips Lighting Award (1986, Toronto, CDN); Timex Award (1989, Minneapolis, USA); FleurKeur Award (1994, Utrecht); Absolut Vodka Award (1995, New York, USA); Skin of Corian Award (2006, Wilmington, USA); Laval Virtual Award (2010, Laval, FR); Laval Virtual Award (2011, Laval, FR).

He received Best Teacher Awards IDE in 2003, 2005 and was nominated in 2007, 2011 and 2016. He was runner-up in 2005 for the Central Teaching Award and UT Laureate in 2010.





Computer Aided Design
Virtual Reality
Application Programs
Product Development
Human Computer Interaction


Hybrid Design Tools; Representation; Computational Synthesis.

Non-linear, non-explicit, non-standard thinking and ambiguity in design tools has a great impact on enhancement of creativity during ideation and conceptualization. Tacit-tangible representation based on a mere idiosyncratic and individual approach combined with computational assistance allows the user to experiment, explore and manifest their ideas, fuzzy notions and mental images.

One of the most difficult tasks of individual users is the externalization of tacit knowing, tacit expectations, and metacognitive feelings. Simply put, to bring your imagination alive you need encouragement, nudging, decision-making and trigger intuition. In our research we focus on the metacognitive aspects of user interaction, user experience, user engagement and tool use wherein the wheels of causality are set off through coincidence, unpredictability and unexpected events.

The hybrid design tools we author and build are based on the human intuitive capacity and sensory abilities to immerse in physical manipulation and tangible representation to enhance creativity and ideation process. Simultaneously we embed and implement computational design tools that assist and nudge the user during the process to represent the conceptual models, data mapping and transformative information.

This transformation has a consequence of exercising the full cognitive abilities and reinforces the insight in understanding and knowledge about the problem definition and solution space. Working visually and sensory is a complex process that includes spatial information, multi perception and manual dexterity.

The four pleasures; a feeling of happy satisfaction, enjoyment, entertainment and sensorial gratification. "What's your pleasure?", asked Mr. Einstein. "Push my buttons, said the machine." "With pleasure...here we go...!" cried Albert. Creativity is the residue of time wasted, design for life is to learn how to use creativity in our daily lives to fulfill our dreams and passions. Our tools dictate the nature of our work, our hands are the instruments of our mind. Often software interfaces define the boundaries of our work, but only exploration into the margins of these tools, beyond the intended use pattern can really expose these boundaries. In that sense in order for us to break out of the design paradigm embedded in software we must use it “the wrong way”. Hybrid software tools and blended spaces for design and creativity try to provide a simple, flexible and efficient workflow whilst still not limit the creative output. "Oh, thank you!" "My pleasure." (Wendrich, 2015)


Recent Articles
Eric, R., & Kruiper, R. (2017). Robust Unconventional Interaction Design and Hybrid Tool Environments for Design and Engineering Processes. Paper presented at ASME IDETC CIE 2017, Cleveland, United States.
Wendrich, R. E., & Kruiper, R. (2016). Keep IT Real: On Tools, Emotion, Cognition and Intentionality in Design. In D. Marjanović, Š. M., N. Pavković, N. Bojčetić, & S. Škec (Eds.), Proceedings of the DESIGN 2016 14th International Design Conference (pp. 759-768). (DESIGN; No. 84). The Design Society.
Wendrich, R. E. (2016). Blended Spaces for Integrated Creativity and Play in Design and Engineering Processes. Journal of computing and information science in engineering, 16(3), 030905-. [030905]. DOI: 10.1115/1.4033217
Wendrich, R. E., & Kruiper, E. (2016). Keep IT Real: On Tools, Emotion, Cognition and Intentionality in Design. In D. Marjanovic, M. Storga, N. Pavkovic, N. Bojcetic, & S. Skec (Eds.), Proceedings of the 14th International Design Conference (DESIGN2016) (pp. 759-768). Cavtat-Dubrovnik, Croatia.
Wendrich, R. E., Chambers, K-H., Al-Halabi, W., Seibel, E. J., Grevenstuk, O., Ullman, D., & Hoffman, H. G. (2016). Hybrid Design Tools in a Social Virtual Reality Using Networked Oculus Rift: A Feasibility Study in Remote Real-Time Interaction. In Proceedings ASME 2016 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences and Computers and Information in Engineering Conference (pp. V01BT02A042-). Charlotte, NC, USA: ASME. DOI: 10.1115/DETC2016-59956
Wendrich, R. E. (2016). Airflow Interaction Interface: Playful 3-D CAD and Gaming. In Proceedings ASME 2016 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences and 36th Cmputers and Information in Engineering Conference (pp. V01BT02A047-). Charlotte, NC, USA: ASME. DOI: 10.1115/DETC2016-59069
Ellman, A., Wendrich, R. E., & Tiainen, T. (2016). Framework and Feasibility Study for Pairwise Comparison Tool. In Proceedings ASME 2016 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences and Computers and Information in Engineering Conference (pp. V01BT02A041-). Charlotte, NC, USA: ASME. DOI: 10.1115/DETC2016-59886
Wendrich, R. E. (2015). HCI/HMI Pleasure: Push Your Buttons. In C. Weber, S. Husung, G. Cascini, M. Cantamessa, D. Marjanovic, & M. Bordegoni (Eds.), Proceedings 20th International Conference on Engineering Design (pp. 229-238). Milan, Italy.
Wendrich, R. E. (2015). Integrated Creativity and Play Environments in Design and Engineering Processes. In ASME 2015 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences and Computers and Information in Engineering Conference. Volume 1B: 35th Computers and Information in Engineering Conference (pp. -). Boston, USA: ASME. DOI: 10.1115/DETC2015-47214
Garbaya, S., Miraoui, C., Wendrich, R. E., Lim, T., Stanescu, I. A., & Hauge, J. B. (2014). Sensorial Virtualization: Coupling Gaming and Virtual Environment. Journal of advanced distributed learning technology, 2(5), 16-30.
Wendrich, R. E. (2014). Hybrid Design Tools for Design and Engineering Processing. In J. G. Michopoulos, C. J. J. Paredis, D. W. Rosen, & J. M. Vance (Eds.), Advances in Computers and Information in Engineering Research (pp. 215-238). New York, USA: ASME Press.
Damgrave, R. G. J., Dankers, W., van Houten, F. J. A. M., Lutters, D., & Wendrich, R. E. (2014). Virtual Reality Lab. In J.W. Drukker (Ed.), Virtual Reality Lab (pp. -). University of Twente.
Wendrich, R. E. (2014). Triple Helix Ideation: Comparison of Tools in Early Phase Design Processing. In D. Marianovic, M. Storga, N. Pavkovic, & N. Bojcetic (Eds.), Proceedings of the DESIGN 2014 13th International Design Conference (pp. 1229-1238). Dubrovnik, Croatia.

UT Research Information System

Google Scholar Link


ON HYBRIDITY: Raw Aesthetics and Philosophy of Nothing | Ma Course IDE

Designers often design by way of using conventions they are always following the obvious, and are blinded by the familiarity! As designers we all want to create the ultimate shiny glossy design artifact that conquer the world and will make the designer famous, appreciated and wealthy. In general the design industry is about interpreting everyday conventions, we are stepping around in habitual media, make believe virtual worlds and notwithstanding became masters of digital virtuosity. In a world we sleepwalk through, designers are feeding our insatiable appetite for visual stimulation and ever greater optical illusions or simulations.

We propose a hybrid, a mere taxonomy of ‘ugliness’, by implementing Rawshaping Technology (RST) early in the conceptualization and ideation design process (the so-called FuzzyFrontEnd, however never forget in any process there will be a HairyBackEnd). This RST-framework naturally links to the common interest in ‘beauty and ugly’ in all its manifestations and formal or natural distinctions.

Our aim to fill the voids between the analogue real and virtual real by making use of tacit skills and traditional tools, an intuitive workbench and common sense provided us with a huge amount of data and information on design and engineering processing.

Synthetic computer environments, that enhance the designer’s seeing-drawing-feeling-sculpting and provide a system that extends the designer’s repertoire of physical and virtual prototypes, enhances their ability to explore them tangibly or virtually and bring them in transaction with particular design.

            “…What would really be interesting to see for people, is that beautiful things’ grow out of shit. Because nobody ever believes that! Everybody thinks that Beethoven had his string quartets completely in his head that they somehow appeared there and formed in his head. All he had to do is write them down and then they would be kind of manifest to the world. What is so interesting and what really should be a lesson to be learned, is that things come out of nothing, things evolve out of nothing. The tiniest seed in the right situation turns into the most beautiful forest, and then the most promising seed in the wrong situation, turns into nothing. This would be important for people to understand, it gives people confidence in their own lives to know that is how things work. If you walk around with the idea that there are some people who are so gifted, they have these wonderful things in their head, but you are not one of them. You are, sort of a ‘normal’ person, you could never do all that. Then you live a different kind of life, you could have another kind of life where you can say: ‘I know that things come out from nothing very much and start from unpromising beginnings. And I am an unpromising beginning…and I could start something…”

(Brian Eno, 2002)

“With the emergence of three-dimensional computational design, the industrial design process shifted from traditional analogue physical representations of ideas or artifacts to digital virtual realities” (Wendrich, 2009).

It is virtually unthinkable that we want to lose or rid the computer as a tool or instrument from our quotidian. The computer is embedded and became part of our lives, often seen as an extra guest at the dinner table in the form of information bearer, search instrument or entertainer. We don’t really notice its present anymore, we adapted to IT and IT transformed our lifestyles. We feel that without computers a lot of people would not know how to proceed or continue normally with their individual lives so much has changed that accepting immersion in virtuality became the new orthodoxy. It is foreseeable and imaginable that a bold return to analogue reality is not an option any longer this means that designers also are fully engaged in this computer-driven electronic era and are therefore not lenient to chuck their digital companions.

We argued that it is imperative that the tacit tangible has to be included in design representation while simultaneously making use of the computational power and processing speed firstly by installing adaptive vision systems, secondly by allowing intuitive touch and feel interaction in a synthesized solution space and thirdly to couple multi-layered manufacturing capabilities to this interactive tacit tangible workbench. Most important aspect of this SDE is the un-tethered control and engagement of the designer, to give the pre-dominance of processing back to the idiosyncratic skilled human designer. For videos: https://vimeo.com/search?q=rawshaping | For documents and more information: www.rawshaping.com

ON DISCOVERY | Ba-course Module 2 - IDe

Knowledge and critical mass related to design and form-giving aspects are crucial for the careful application of skills to the design engineering domain. In this course several ideation techniques, methods and tools are discussed and applied in the context of design, creative processing and the art of discovery. These discovery characteristics are fundamental in terms of putting emphasis on individual experience, individual skill-sets, singular inspiration, and individual development of one's own design qualities, visions and values.

In ideation, conceptualization and creative processing, the formation of idiosyncratic traits are of importance in order to stimulate and generate the imaginative qualities, empowerment in communication, enhance insight and understanding in the singular role in collaborative creative processes. The students are challenged to 'breakout' from their (his/her) convention(s) and comfort zone(s) to unleash their distinct intuitive and creative abilities, explore and find their stance, hone their intellectual progressions, feel their introspective and outwardness sensibilities and show their audacity. The course follows an incremental process of fast and slow thinking and learning by doing in conjunction with assignments that are specifically designed to meet the projected aims and goals of the Discovery course.

The bottom-line is; "For every idea, however wrong, there are data for which the idea will work". To Discovery is thrill, excitement and euphoria, in such Discovery is the difference between victory and defeat, between satisfaction and disappointment, between success and failure. Introspection and reflection are based on aligning the assignments with Preparation, Incubation, Intimation, Illumination and Formulation. Many ideas and/or concepts stem from unconscious or subconscious thoughts or notions, however, to design is to choose and make decisions. In this divergent, then convergent thinking, the need to generate (iterations galore) then test is fundamental to externalization and create tangible outcome.

In effect to learn and understand choice criteria (rules of choice are extremely fine and delicate), the intuitive quality, emotional sensibility and aesthetic feeling of an individual needs to be triggered, assessed and tested. By placing the focus on expressiveness (i.e. sketching, writing, iterating etc.) and utilizing it to generate, iterate, position, associate, abstract, and present content Discovery allows the novice-designer to learn about him/herself and others around him/her. Intuition in gestation is often understood as serendipity, subsequently the exploration and discovery of known and/or unknown things is both unnecessary or impossible.

Therefore, stimulating potential serendiptous events, through observation and experimentation during externalization, thereby allowing unexpected (rare) events to unfold, recognize the potential and amplify these effects are essential ingredients/components within the Discovery course.

Discovery is a primer in design engineering and early-phase design processing and contribute to other design engineering courses throughout the IDE curriculum.


Code: 201500005

TOPIC:  Blended Space [RST Research]

Ideation and design representation constitute an important proportion of any design and engineering process. Usability and interaction design (IxD) of computational tools and systems often (i.e. mostly) lack the inclusion of metacognitive, sensory and/or physio-psychological aspects. The need for embedding and inclusion of the aforementioned aspects in the design engineering process calls for new perspectives, holistic viewpoints and novel approaches towards current human machine interface (HMI) and human computer interaction (HCI).

Affiliated Study Programmes





“Fixed ideas are like a cramp in the foot - the best remedy against it is to tread on it.” - Sven Kierkegaard


Ideas are hard to find but designers love to have ideas! Having lots of ideas makes a designer look really creative and incredibly talented, which can also make them stand out within their peer group. They are often praised for being so highly creative and smart. They potentially indulge themselves in all kinds of happy thoughts about how good they are and, as a consequence, daydream about having many more ideas in the future.

Current Projects

Finished Projects

  • Dutch Design Week 2015

    Mind the Step 2015 - 4TU Federation

Contact Details

Visiting Address

University of Twente
Faculty of Engineering Technology
Horst - Ring (building no. 21), room W 253
De Horst 2
7522LW  Enschede
The Netherlands

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Mailing Address

University of Twente
Faculty of Engineering Technology
Horst - Ring  W 253
P.O. Box 217
7500 AE Enschede
The Netherlands